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Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the most sought after next-generation (4G) super-fast wireless communications technology, is rapidly gaining momentum globally. The 4G wireless network aims to cope with substantial demand for high-speed wireless data services and mobile video.

The GSM Association’s research wing, GMSA Intelligence, recently revealed that there will be more than 1 billion LTE connections globally by 2017. Currently, there are approximately 176 million LTE connections worldwide. By 2017, there will be around 465 LTE networks across 128 countries.

LTE offersseveral advantages over legacy 3G network technologies or its competing WiMAX technology. This includes improved spectral efficiency, lower costs, and solid integration with other open wireless standards.Theoretically, LTE is expected to achieve download transmission speed up to 300Mbps and upload transmission speed up to 100 Mbps.These positives are encouraging the switch to LTE technology

LTE also supports flexible carrier bandwidth and both FDD (frequency division duplexing) and TDD (time division duplexing) on the same platform. Ability to incrementally increase speed and capacity are the major hallmarks for its acceptability to wireless carriers.

In the U.S., the two leading wireless operators, namely, Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ - Analyst Report) and AT&T Inc. (T - Analyst Report) are gradually expanding their respective LTE networks. Sprint Corp. (S - Analyst Report), the nation’s third largest telecom firm, has undertaken a massive project to deploy LTE network. In China – a major emerging market – leading wireless operator China Mobile Ltd. (CHL - Snapshot Report) will initiate a significant LTE-TDD network deployment in 2014.

GSMA Intelligence further reported that LTE users consume an average of 1.5GB data per month, two-fold the amount consumed by non-LTE users. In the developing countries, LTE users can generate 20 times higher average revenue per user (ARPU) to carriers than non-LTE users, whereas in the developed countries ARPU can be 10%-40% higher for LTE users instead of non-LTE users.

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